Writer Elizabeth Gilbert has penned a somber and touching post about the most important person in her life. Her name is Rayya Elias, and she's a Syrian writer who's been best friends with Gilbert for more than 15 years. They only began dating after Elias was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer this spring. Gilbert explained how the terrible news spurred her realization in a lengthy, eloquent Facebook post.
"In the moment I first learned of Rayya's diagnosis, a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart (a trap door I didn't even know was there) and my entire existence fell straight through that door... I cancelled everything in my life that could be cancelled, and I went straight to her side, where I have been ever since." Gilbert continued, "Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth."
Gilbert also used the space to preemptively address speculation about her new relationship's role in the end of her 12-year marriage to Brazilian businessman José Nunes in July. (Nunes is the man she wrote about falling in love with in Bali in her best seller Eat, Pray, Love.) "For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes," Gilbert stated bluntly. She added that her decision to go public now is based on the fact that she has public work commitments coming up, and values the ease that comes with living truthfully and transparently. You can read her note in full below.